2 Tips for Making the Steel Caster Wheels in Your Factory Last Longer

Posted on: 27 January 2016

If you work in a factory that uses movable equipment, some of the machinery may be placed on steel caster wheels. Keeping the wheels maintained is important for safely moving the equipment as well as making the wheels last longer. Use the tips below to keep them in tip-top shape for as long as possible.

Keep the Wheels Out of Water

If your caster wheels are made out of steel, it is imperative that you limit their exposure to water. When they are exposed to too much moisture, the metal of the bearings and fittings start to oxidize, eventually leading to rust. When this occurs, the wheels may stick, causing the equipment to stop abruptly while being moved and creating a potential safety hazard if it tilts.

If the factory in which you work has a lot of moisture, such as from steam or water hoses, this exposure may be unavoidable. If so, lubricate the bearings and grease the fittings as often as possible.

To lubricate the bearings, locate the cap on the side of the wheel spoke. Remove the cap and place a drop or two of machine oil into the cavity. Then, replace the cap and wipe any excess lubricant from the outside metal.

To grease the fittings, put on gloves and place a small amount of machinist grease on your fingers. Rub the outer, central nut and bolt with the grease, applying a thin coat. Then, do the same with the interior bolt. Remove your gloves and use a lint-free cloth to wipe off any grease you may have accidentally gotten on the wheels themselves. This last step is important because the grease could make the wheels slick, causing the equipment they're attached onto to slide uncontrollably.

Also, closely examine the wheels for signs of rust or metal deterioration. If any is detected, you may need to contact the equipment representative about having them replaced.

Do Not Exceed the Load Weight of the Casters

The steel caster wheels often utilized by factory equipment typically have a load weight capacity. If the load weight is more than the capacity, it has the potential to damage the wheels' fittings or bearings. The excess weight could also bend the wheels themselves, making the equipment hard to push or causing it to lean.

If the wheels are directly attached to a piece of machinery, do not place anything on top of the equipment that would add to the weight. The attached wheels have been calibrated to withstand the machine's weight, so any more could damage them.

If the wheels are connected to a platform onto which any equipment can be placed, make sure you know the weight capacity of the platform and the caster wheels. While this information may be marked directly on the wheels, you may need to consult the manual. If you do not have the manual, you may need to call the manufacturer or your factory's suppliers to get this information.

Once you have the weight capacity, either look up the weight of the equipment or weigh it. If it weighs more than the platform's load weight capacity, find another platform. If the weight is less or equal to the capacity, center the equipment onto the platform to evenly distribute the load so that one wheel is not bearing more than the others.

Using the above tips can help keep your factory's steel caster wheels in operation for the life of the equipment. However, if they are starting to rust, break down or be unable to roll properly, you may want to speak to an industrial equipment supplier like Garland's, Inc. to discuss options for replacing or repairing your steel casters.